How Do You Buy a Used Car?


Quick Answer

To buy a used car, set a budget, create a list of vehicles that meet your needs and budget, research prices and customer reviews, and find used cars in your area through online classified ads or local used car superstores. Obtain a vehicle history report before contacting the seller.

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Full Answer

Choose a budget that doesn’t exceed 20 percent of your net pay to ensure you can afford the car expense. Go for trustworthy but less popular manufacturers to save money. Come up with three distinct vehicles that fit your budget and personal needs. A good way to make the buying process easier is to choose a certified preowned car, which refers to vehicles sold by local dealers and supported by the original manufacturers.

Check the true market values of your shortlisted cars, and read user reviews and specifications. To find cars in your region, check websites that sell used cars, or visit independent used car lots and new car dealerships with used car sections.

After checking the vehicle history report of a prospective car, call the seller to ask essential questions about the car and get a feel of the seller's personality and credibility. Next, test-drive the car and request to see the service records. Bring the vehicle to a qualified mechanic for an extensive inspection. Finally, try to negotiate a favorable deal based on the car’s true market value.

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